Het Wassen Oog

Anmeldt av Eddie Rattlehead
(Prophecy Productions, 2019)

Karakter: 3.5/6

Laster_HetWassenOog.jpgSometimes adding a qualifier to a single word genre implies dilution of said genre. Such is the case with atmospheric black where predominantly one hardly expects brutal ancient black metal to reign through the compositions but rather gentle eclectic, almost and often shoegazing music with occassional bursts of raw black, for good measure. The Dutch ensemble, Laster, featuring three multi-instrumentalists/vocalists, Sylwin Cornielje, Wessel "W. Damiaen" Reijman and Nicky, after 3 albums, including this one, attempt to marry these two disparate elements, whilst actually NOT diluting either one and even adorning the songs with psychedelic jazzy progression.

"Het Wassen Oog" is a very weird album. It seems that the most brutal ancient black a'la Enslaved is reserved for the latter, the more interesting half (Haat & Bonhomie, Zinsbetovering) while the first half is more melodic and progressive with psychedelia worthy of The Doors or Pink Floyd (Vacuüm ≠ Behoud), with the everpresent jazzy dissonant Deadspell Omega/Gorguts ornaments, most evidently on the most ambitious track "Blind Staren" which can also be described as Opeth-ian black. Of all those aforementionables the closer "Zinsbetovering" is a favorite with the most aggression and balance. Overall performances are admirable and I particularly find the section a pleasure to listen to, almost on its own merits. The vocals are varied growls through cleans which become distinctly Opeth-ian with that echoey vocal as if from a distance patented by Opeth's mastermind Mikael Åkerfeld (Blind Staren). Instrumentally and vocally, then, the album is top notch.

Another issue is the songwriting and that aspect is good to mediocre. Particularly "Weerworm" is the laziest track, one pattern, simple jazz riff and bass in a seemingly endless recycle. Generally, despite those good songs I mentioned earlier, songwriting is not one of Laster's greatest strengths, and keep in mind, again, this is their 3rd album.

"Het Wassen Oog" is instrumentally great but the material is disjointed and at times even lifeless and there's simply no excuse for such low level songwriting on the third album, where a band is supposed to be either made or broken. The combination of excellent instrumental performance and mediocre songwriting gives the score above, which may dissapoint Laster but is a fair and balanced assessment of their current knowledge, skills and abilities.


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